Abandoning Paradise

Chapter Four     Crossing France

La Pastorale

The day started out in asking for N Soixante de Neuf and that went nowhere.  I asked about Saint Pourcain-sur-Sioule and she didn't know where it was.  OK, solo flying it is.

Fortunately dumb luck sometimes favors idiots and I found N79 fairly quickly. In stopping for fuel there was another stroke of luck as it looked like just another gas station but it turned out to be quite nice.

This is an unassuming place but it had two very sweet ladies working inside and I found a nice breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, lettuce and tomato with a drink for €3,30.  The texture of French bread is much like Greek in which there is a hard crust but with a wonderful texture to the bread inside.  Wrapping up the bits from the salad in that made for one delicious treat.

At first they said, non, non about taking their picture but a fellow I took to be a manager spoke good English and told them what I was doing.  The lady on the left is still a bit mystified about why I would want to take her picture but she was really charming and she is the one who was helping me.  It was a very pleasant time and I dawdled here for some while before pushing off to the west.

I apologise again as I did not get their names but this won't be the last time I 'introduce' you to people I encounter and I will work on my technique.

This is a highly pastoral part of France and I find it very beautiful.

Later I came to Charolles which was also quite beautiful.  Charolles is a charming place and it doesn't seem to be on any particular tourist path, they just like it this way.

The streets are much like those of Greece and presumably date from a very old time long before automobiles.  The Tabac store to the left is the only place one can buy cigarettes.  Don't look for them in gas stations as you will not find them. Apparently this was a market day as there were all sorts of portable shops set up around the church.  It wasn't tourist stuff like I Heart Charolles but rather regular clothes and the like.

The village is not large but the church is extraordinary. I thought it was delightful the way the street market was set up all around it.

Here’s a small outdoor cafe across the street from the church. Hardly any of the people there seemed like tourists and no-one was speaking English.

The cafe was a bit crowded inside and the pictures don't show it so much but there were quite a few people out and around. It was much too crowded for any chance of anyone understanding someone who speaks with less intelligence than a farm animal. I suspect my smattering of French would not have impressed them.

And here’s a small canal that runs in front of the cafe. The general silence and peace just about everywhere was precious in that purity. Boom-boom cars were rare and that's probably not true for cities but they were almost non-existent anywhere else. It wasn't only that annoyance but it seemed there were no unnecessary sounds from anything. This makes for a lovely peacefulness and is likely a big part of why people go to the cafe. You can go there as well; the map at the bottom will show you how to find Charolles.

Charolles had nothing at all to do with where I was going but it would have been a shame to miss it.

So, onward with Le Tour de Silas.

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